It’s been a big week for luxury theft in the news. First, a woman in England was found guilty of stealing nearly 1,000 designer handbags, one by one, over a period of three years. If that weren’t enough, yesterday came word that an entire Hermes collection had been stolen off the back of a truck in Milan, forcing the cancellation of an Hermes press preview that had been scheduled.
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Considering how many luxury boutiques have reputations for staffs that seem to purposefully ignore customers who don’t fit a very narrow profile, it’s perhaps surprising that more people don’t simply pick up bags and trot right out the door with them. After all, if a salesperson is busy pretending you don’t exist, it must be hard for him or her to make sure you don’t get a case of the sticky fingers.
According to the Telegraph, third quarter growth for LVMH weakened to just two percent, an outcome which the conglomerate’s recent shift in strategy probably predicted. Although that’s still growth, it’s certainly a marked shift from what the world’s largest luxury company is used to and the kind of growth its counted on in the past. In LVMH’s heyday, quarterly grown was often as high as ten percent, and it had fallen to five to six percent earlier this year.
As slow as the luxury industry has been to embrace online shopping, it seems as though some of the traditional high-end heavyweights are looking to get really serious about earning your Internet-purchase dollars. Starting today, both NeimanMarcus.com and BergdorfGoodman.com will be offering free shipping and free returns on almost any online order from here on out. Some restrictions do apply (occasional items shipped directly from manufacturer, for example), but there’s no minimum purchase.
Late last week when LVMH announced that it had taken a controlling stake in the business of young British shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood, a good portion of the buzz surrounding the sale centered on which other young company might be next. Even before that sale, rumors flew about LVMH and British ready-to-wear and menswear brand JW Anderson, and now those rumors have come to fruition.
At the moment, fashion seems flush with young talent – from Prabal Gurung to JW Anderson, it’s easy to imagine the next generation of fashion superstars emerging from their status as independents to do bigger, better and more widely available things. After all, Raf Simons was once just a forward-thinking Belgian menswear designer, and now he’s at the helm of Dior.
I recently had occasion to try and recall what the price of a Louis Vuitton Speedy Bag was during my college years, which weren’t so long ago, and only when I came up with the number of $560 did I realize how quickly designer handbag prices have crept up in those intervening eight years. (I’m assuming that was the opening price point for the bag around when I became aware of luxury handbags, which was 2005 or so, although I can’t place the number with total certainty.) The Speedy now starts at $855, which is a price increase of almost 53% in less than a decade, far outpacing both inflation and the market-wide price increases for non-luxury consumer goods.
If you live in Hong Kong, have an impressive handbag collection and find yourself short on cash, you’re in luck – you might be eligible for a handbag loan! According to the Wall Street Journal, one enterprising lender in the burgeoning Chinese luxury retail hub is helping wealthy women, many of them housewives, turn their prized handbags into quick cash, from a couple hundred bucks to many thousands.
And the luxury leather goods slap-fight continues! Just when you thought that LVMH might be appropriately chastened by its multi-million euro fine for using what amounts to using subterfuge and trickery to compile a rather enormous stake in family-owned Hermes, the French fashion conglomerate, helmed by Bernard Arnault, goes and does it again, according to Women’s Wear Daily.
For a man who’s just been given a new job, the detail that former Loewe creative director Stewart Vevers went into when talking to Women’s Wear Daily about his nascent arrival at Coach and what it means for the future of the brand was pretty impressive. Vevers has clearly had some time to consider the company’s idea of its future and how his creative vision fits into it, and we’re feeling pretty excited that it may be a great match indeed.